John Keats: Quotations

A Man's life of any worth is a continual allegory - and very few eyes can see the Mystery of his life - a life like the scriptures, figurative ... Shakespeare led a life of Allegory; his works are the comments on it.' (Letter of 19 Feb. 1819; Letters, ed. Hyder Rollins, 1958, II, 67; quoted in Walton A. Litz, James Joyce, Twayne, 1966, p.15.

  Upon First Looking into Chapman's Homer
  Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne:
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific — and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.


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